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Thread: Cricket's cyber-nationalists

  1. #1
    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    Cricket's cyber-nationalists
    Technology does strange things to us. It has created a generation of cricket cyber-nationalists who are, for the most part, infuriating. India is the best and the damn the rest, goes the mantra; cricket, in these circumstances, becomes less a sport or a human endeavour to savour, more a vehicle for pet dislikes, obsessions and prejudices.

    This is a group whose cricket has a limited geography – being focused solely on India, Indian matches, Indian players – but is also essentially ahistorical. The natural corollary to cricket as hyper-nationalism is cricket as anti-contextual. Usually this translates to: the best is now; or rather, the best is the current player I like. He is unprecedented, there was never another like him.

    When I was growing up, there were fellows in school who were devoted to statistics, forever quoting one or the other to make their point. I must say I went through my obsession with statistical trivia as well, I still enjoy it at times, but it doesn’t consume my entire cricket. I’ve outgrown that period, as so many cricket buffs do.

    Desktop cricket fanaticism, however, is a re-rendition of this belief that record-books and statistics don’t just embellish cricket, they ARE cricket. Statsguru is a very useful tool provided by Cricinfo and while it can be invaluable for research, it can also lead to some fairly moronic analyses.

    The other day, somebody wrote in insisting that Srikkanth was only as effective or fast-scoring in ODIs as Rahul Dravid because they both had a strike rate of (if I recall) “71 per 100 balls”; and that by the strike-rate parameter, Sehwag was a greater batsman than Srikkanth. Since the person has obviously already made up his mind, how do you even begin a discussion on batting-bowling equations, pitch conditions, opposition bowling strengths, the evolution of one-day cricket from the 1980s to now?

    Sehwag may well be a better batsman than Srikkanth – though that is a subjective call and surely all 10,000 or 50,000 people watching a cricket match have the right to see events their way and, in a sense, to watch different versions of the same game – but is a strike-rate enumerator going to decide that?
    Replace 'India' with 'certain fans from every country' and it's spot on.
    Rest In Peace Craigos

  2. #2
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Certain fans in every sport from every country. NFL or soccer fans aren't really any better. If you watch enough cricket, especially Test cricket, many people tend to evolve and like the sport in general. Not all, but many. As per stats, no one claims it explains 100% of a player, and someone misusing a tool doesn't invalidate the tool. It's funny to me that he uses things like 'evolution of one day cricket', bowling strengths and things like that, because all of that can usually been seen with stats. If someone wants to say that since Sehwag averages more than Gavaskar, he is a better batsman, that's his right. Just like if someone wants to speak fondly of how back in their day, a batsman was the best because the fast bowlers bowled 200kph and their favorite batsman hit a six with blindfolds on and holding a bat with one hand off a 165mph Larwood short ball, that's their right too. They would both likely be wrong, but that doesn't mean you invalidate stats, or first hand accounts, just because some people tend to misapply one or the other.
    Last edited by silentstriker; 30-03-2008 at 10:20 PM.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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